Steve Granitz
November 02, 1999 at 05:00 AM EST

NOT FANS Pennsylvania police are planning a protest of Sting‘s Nov. 14 concert in Upper Darby because of the singer’s defense of Mumia Abu-Jamal, who is on death row for killing a Philadelphia police officer. (Abu-Jamal’s supporters say he didn’t get a fair trial.) The Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 27 in Delaware County, made up of more than 900 full-time and retired cops, isn’t sure yet what form the protest will take, but it will likely be more forceful than just not singing along with ”Roxanne.”

PUT OFF Leonardo DiCaprio is getting his Christmas present early, and it’s a postponement. His upcoming movie, ”The Beach,” has been bumped by Fox from a Christmas release to Feb. 11, which means it won’t be eligible for this year’s Oscars. Doesn’t quite invoke a lot of confidence for him being King of the World again.

HANGING UP THE TRUNKS After 10 seasons of making the beach a safer place to wedge a thong up your butt, David Hasselhoff is leaving the cast of ”Baywatch” in order to dedicate all of his acting intensity to his new syndicated show, ”AKA Picasso,” which will debut next fall. But the Hoffer won’t be entirely gone: He will remain an executive producer of ”Baywatch Hawaii” and will return for occasional cameos for those really tough adventures when only a wizened veteran can figure out a way to outsmart a particularly menacing Jet-skier.

HONORED The American Film Institute will give its 28th annual Life Achievement Award to Harrison Ford on Feb. 17. ”To movie audiences around the world, Harrison represents the quintessential American film hero,” said AFI board chairman Tom Pollock. ”And when the history of the 20th-century art form is written, Harrison will play a leading role.” And when the history of Blockbuster remainder bins is written, ”Random Hearts” will play a leading role…. The city council of Dublin, Ireland, is honoring native band U2 for placing ”Dublin on the map as an attractive destination for many young music lovers who would never have visited Ireland otherwise.”

THE SONG IS OVER Creed had to cut short its Halloween-night concert in Houston after three songs when singer Scott Stapp strained his vocal cords. Sunday night’s show and tonight’s scheduled show in Lafayette, La., have been postponed, but Stapp plans to be howling again by Thursday night in San Antonio.

CASTING William H. Macy and Anne Heche will costar in the drama ”Auggie Rose,” about a bored salesman who takes on the identity of an ex-con who dies in his arms and is then visited by the girlfriend (Heche) who only knew the former jailbird through his letters.

YOU’RE THE EXPERT The term ”Best Of…” is so subjective, isn’t it? And that’s why the Beastie Boys are letting you make your own compilation if you don’t like their upcoming Greatest Hits collection, ”The Sounds of Science” (in stores Nov. 23). From now until Dec. 31, you can visit the Web pages of such retailers as CDNow, Tower Records, Best Buy, Virgin Records and Wherehouse, and select from 150 Beastie tracks (including rare B-sides) to be included on your own personalized anthology CD, which will be shipped out to you after Nov. 23.

CHARGED In sharp contrast to his is-he-gay-or-isn’t-he character on ”Veronica’s Closet,” Wallace Langham is being charged with committing a hate crime by allegedly attacking a homosexual tabloid reporter. According to Reuters, an unidentified stringer for the Star claims that on Sept. 7, Langham punched and kicked him in a Los Angeles supermarket while yelling homophobic slurs simply because the reporter was looking at the tattoos on the actor’s girlfriend’s arms. Langham says that the writer goaded him into a fight by aggressively mocking his girlfriend’s tattoos, that it had nothing to do with a ”hate crime,” and that the suit was just a way to make money off a celebrity. Langham’s lawyer claims that before pressing charges, the reporter had approached the actor demanding a big hunk of cash to go away. ”Mr. Langham has refused to be pressured into paying the extortionate demand,” said the lawyer. ”The purported victim has filed today’s charges in an effort to escalate this into a gay-bashing hate crime.”

RECOVERING Johnny Cash is resting at home after being released from a Nashville hospital where he was treated for pneumonia. The 67-year-old singer has unfortunately been a frequent visitor to hospitals this year after he was diagnosed with the degenerative nerve disease Shy-Drager syndrome.

REEL DEALS For their next movie, the duo that brought you ”American Pie” — Chris and Paul Weitz — will be dealing with food again, but this time it will only be indirectly used as a sexual aid. They’re turning the nonfiction book ”The Making of a Chef” into a romantic comedy about two chefs who fall in love while at cooking school…. Paul Verhoeven (”Starship Troopers”) will direct ”The Secret Road,” based on the true story of Palestinian Jews who went undercover as Nazis during WWII to try to ruin their march to Egypt from the inside.

IN CHARGE Stacey Snider will become the sole chairperson of Universal Pictures on Jan. 1, making her the second female solo studio chief after Paramount’s Sherry Lansing.

AXED And the casualties continue: NBC has canceled its low-rated drama ”Cold Feet.” For the near future, the network will replace it with ”Law & Order” reruns in the Fridays-at-10 p.m. slot.

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